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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SOIL RESOURCE EVALUATION OF MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS TO ENHANCE AGROECOSYSTEM SUSTAINABILITY

Location: Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory

Title: Water Use and Crop Production: Crop Sequence Influence

Authors
item Tanaka, Donald
item Merrill, Stephen - RETIRED-ARS, MANDAN, ND
item Krupinsky, Joseph
item Liebig, Mark
item Hanson, Jonathan

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 21, 2006
Publication Date: February 26, 2007
Repository URL: http://www.umanitoba.ca/afs/agronomists_conf/proceedings/2006/tanaka_water_use_and_crop_production.pdf
Citation: Tanaka, D.L., Merrill, S.D., Krupinsky, J.M., Liebig, M.A., Hanson, J.D. 2007. Water Use and Crop Production: Crop Sequence Influence. Meeting Proceedings.

Interpretive Summary: Producers in the northern Great Plains have developed cropping systems with more diverse crops, and systems that are more sustainable. Sequencing of crops in cropping systems to optimize benefits of the previous crop on the current crop can be challenging. Research was conducted at Mandan, ND to determine if crop sequences of buckwheat, canola, chickpea, corn, dry pea, grain sorghum, lentil, proso millet, sunflower, and spring wheat influenced soil water depletion and storage as well as crop production. Sunflower and corn had the greatest soil water depletion (5.3 in) while dry pea had the least soil water depletion (2.0 in.). Soil water storage during the noncrop period was the greatest for spring wheat and grain sorghum residues (2.4 in.) and least for sunflower residue (1.2 in.). Producers could double seed yield by choosing appropriate crop sequences for crops such as chickpea, corn, grain sorghum, and sunflower. For some crops, like canola, proso millet, and spring wheat, crop sequence had minimal influence on seed yield. Producers can now develop sustainable cropping systems that have crop sequences which optimize the benefits of previous crops and are tailored to their long-term goals.

Technical Abstract: Cropping systems in the northern Great Plains were dominated by wheat-fallow systems. Improved technology, greater agricultural sustainability, and a need for additional crop options has increased precipitation use and the number and diversity of crops grown in the northern Great Plains. Sequencing crops in cropping systems to optimize the benefits of the previous crop on the current crop can be a challenge. Objectives of our research were to determine influences of previous crop and crop residues on crop soil water use and hydrology and crop production. Research was conducted on the Area IV Soil Conservation District/Agricultural Research Service Cooperative Research Farm located about 5 miles southwest of Mandan, ND. Buckwheat, canola, chickpea, corn, dry pea, grain sorghum, lentil, proso millet, sunflower, and spring wheat were no-till seeded. The following year, the same ten crops were seeded perpendicular to the previous year, creating a 10 x 10 crop-by-crop residue matrix with 100 crop sequences. Soil water depletion was greatest for sunflower (5.3 in) and lowest for dry pea (2.0 in). Soil water recharge during the non-crop period was greatest for spring wheat and grain sorghum (2.4 in) and lowest for sunflower (1.2 in). Seeding crops on their own residue resulted in the lowest seed yield. For sustainable dynamic cropping systems in the northern Great Plains, dry pea, sunflower, or spring wheat need to be included because of their consistent precipitation-use efficiency.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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